Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I F-ing Am Challenged By My Job Today

Do you remember when you didn't know how to walk?

Your guardians didn't give up on you. They encouraged you as you stumbled through your steps. It was probably documented.

I feel that working with my last set of students is like working with people I expect to know how to walk but they don't. And my job over the past two weeks has been to teach them how to walk first for the inevitable job of teaching them how to dance.

If they aren't even walking, how can I expect to teach them to dance?

EVERYONE can be taught. Every single person. The luxury of adult life is having an open class schedule. Life lessons are not necessarily from school bell to school bell. And you don't need one skill to build upon another. Sometimes you are your own teacher. Sometimes the world is your teacher. Rarely do you sit in rows and wait for the instruction to be given "Learn this now."

I am working with students who can barely write, let alone barely write a sentence. Getting them to put their heading on their work is a chore. Following instructions such as: "Sit down, don't touch your neighbor, make sure to have your pencil..." is a daily routine.

I feel like my soul is getting sucked out of me repeating these basic tasks.

These students are supposedly college-bound. But they are huffy, they give up so easily because something is "hard" and they act out.

Grant it, I don't know what they're coming to school with...emotionally, physically, spiritually.

I know it's hard to focus on history at the end of the day and schoolyear if things are not stable at home.

I am trying to remember this. I am trying to remember that it's not my job to teach them digital storytelling as it is my job to be a communicator and someone they can practice communication with.

So when I get the pouty 10 year old who is giving me the silent treatment or playing tag in a classroom of $50,000 worth of equipment (some of which they have already broken) or I have to ask repeatedly to whisper to your partner instead of calling across the room I need to have the humility to think that they are practicing these skills. They clearly don't have them yet which is why they can't sit still for 2 minutes or why they forget within 30 seconds of you teaching what they need to do.

If I had them for 2 hours we could iron out the rough spots and then move on to more sophisticated things such as independent work time and guidance.

But for the last week I've felt bogged down by disrespectful 5th graders who seem to not have self-control.

There are a few rays of sunshine who work independently and are patient.

And a good majority of them address me with a friendly "Hi, Miss Ishkabibble" outside of class and then come and hug me. I kiss them on the side of the face and hug them.

I do love them.

But I am not sure if I can parent one of them effectively if I am feeling demoralized after only 3 weeks with them at my "hard core" school.

How does that Serenity Prayer go again?

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